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Edward Albee's Seascape

The remarkable thing about New York is you can be disappointed one minute and elated the next. I waited for 20 minutes at the Walter Kerr Theatre to get a ticket to see Doubt (see my post from Wednesday) to find that the only ticket available for the final performance of Cherry Jones in the title role cost US$176, and there were only a couple of those left. (Forget TKTS . . . no 1/2 price tickets for this show.)

A bit out of my price range for this trip anyway. However, as happens all the time in New York, or so it seems to an occasional visitor like me, just ahead of me in line was a young woman who evidently loved theatre and mentioned having found Edward Albee's Seascape, in her words, "profoundly moving". A short jog back to Times Square and TKTS, a somewhat longer wait in line, and 45 minutes later I had a ticket to the Albee play on what turns out to be its last -- and sold-out -- performance!

Seascape won Albee a Pulitzer Prize in 1975, and it has aged well, helped along in this revival by a sad and sensitive performance by Frances Sternhagen. Her character's relationship with her husband Charlie, played with an odd, slightly Southern twang by George Gizzard (who remarkably won a Tony Award for his role in Albee's 1966 play A Delicate Balance), will echo deeply in any long-married couple who, having raised kids and been relatively happy, are trying to agree on what to do with the rest of their lives together. Their heartbreaking banter sees Nancy (Sternhagen) yearn for a life lived fully until it ends, with Charlie simply ready for his "well-deserved rest".

That's the first act . . . the second act sort of falls apart into a somewhat comic expressionistic fantasy as Charlie and Nancy are confronted by two lizards named Leslie (Frederic Weller) and Sarah (Elizabeth Marvel) emerging from the sea to test the waters on land so to speak. Charlie tries to convince them they are better off not starting the evloutionary process all over again, while Nancy urges them to stay and evolve. Why, both in the context of the first act, and given the sorry state of many things in the world today, is a mystery to me . . . I will have to buy the script and give it some more thought. After all, apparently the play is closing today and I don't think I'll wait 30 years until it comes around on Broadway again. Now . . . where to go for dinner (see Wednesday's post)?

Solving the Dinner Dilemma

New York, New York